Measurement of radon, thoron and their daughters in the air of marble factories and resulting alpha-radiation doses to the lung of workers

Abstract

Concentrations of radon (222Rn) and thoron (220Rn) were measured in the air of different marble factories by using a nuclear track technique. The influence of the marble dust nature and ventilation on radon and thoron concentrations was investigated. It was observed that measured radon and thoron concentration ranged from 310 to 903 Bq m−3 and 6 to 48 Bq m−3, respectively. In addition, alpha-activities due to the unattached and attached fractions of 218Po and 214Po radon short-lived progeny were evaluated in the marble factories studied. Committed equivalent doses due to the attached and unattached fractions of 218Po and 214Po nuclei were evaluated in the lung tissues of marble factory workers. The dependence of the resulting committed equivalent dose on the concentration of the attached and unattached fractions of the 218Po and 214Po radionuclides and mass of the tissue was investigated. The resulting annual committed effective doses to the lung of marble factory workers due to the attached and unattached fractions of the 218Po and 214Po radionuclides were calculated. The obtained results show that about 80% of the global committed effective doses received by workers in the studied marble factories are due to the attached fraction of the 218Po and 214Po radon short-lived daughters from the inhalation of polluted air. Male workers spending 8 h per day (2080 h per year) in a marble factory receive a maximum dose of 34.46 mSv y−1 which is higher than the (3–10 mSv y−1) dose limit interval given by the ICRP. Good agreement was found between data obtained for the average effective dose gotten by using this method and the UNSCEAR and ICRP conversion dose coefficients.

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Acknowledgements

This work was performed under an URAC-15 research contract with the CNRST, Rabat, Morocco.

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Correspondence to M. A. Misdaq.

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Misdaq, M.A., Talbi, A. & Ouguidi, J. Measurement of radon, thoron and their daughters in the air of marble factories and resulting alpha-radiation doses to the lung of workers. Environ Geochem Health 41, 2209–2222 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-019-00276-9

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Keywords

  • Radon, thoron and progenies
  • Attached and unattached fractions
  • Marble dust
  • Respiratory tract
  • Radiation dose assessment